How long is a (piece of) String. Cricketing Greats and the length function

My Dad gave me a book recently – the 100 Greatest Cricketers. As well as selecting what – in his opinion at least – were the 100 finest exponents of the game, the author also decided to rank them in order from 1 to 100.
At this point, for those who don’t know, I should perhaps explain that Cricket is one of those games given by the English to the rest of the world….to prove what sporting losers the English could be.
For any Australians reading, to whom this statement may ring hollow given their teams current travails, fret not. Historically, England’s brief ascendancy the battle for the Ashes tends to come to a juddering halt when least expected, usually in the form of a 4-0 thrashing ( think 1958-59, 1989).

Anyway, back to the book. Comparing players across different eras is hard enough – just how would you evaluate the relative merits of Sachin Tendulkar and Sir Jack Hobbs, for example ?
But comparing the relative merits of a batsmen and bowler who were contemporaries in the same team is equally problematic. Who is the greater cricketer out of Dennis Lillee and Greg Chappell, or Malcolm Marshall and Viv Richards ?

All of this brings to mind the saying, “how long is a piece of string”.
In SQL, at least, we do have an answer to this question…or do we ? Continue reading

Disabling the Oracle Diagnostic and Tuning Pack APIs – If you want something done, do it yourself

At last, we have reached the final episode of the Star Wars themed odyssey through the tangled web that is Oracle’s Diagnostic and Tuning Pack licensing.
Just as well really, Deb has flatly refused to give over any more evenings to my “research” – i.e. re-watching all of the films. Even the appeal of Ewan MacGregor’s Alec Guiness impression has now waned.
Just to recap then, so far I’ve looked at :

Now, finally we’re going to have a look at how we can minimize the chances of an errant select statement causing a whole heap of trouble.
Yes, we’re going to have a go at disabling access to the Diagnostic and Tuning Pack APIs without (hopefully), breaking anything.
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Oracle Database Diagnostic and Tuning Packs – exactly what are you not licensed for ?

It’s that time of year. The expense of Christmas is becoming apparent and January payday has seemed to be forever in arriving.
“…and I need a crown !”, said Deb.
This caused me to pause for a moment. Was my better half getting delusions of granduer ?
Further, delicate enquiries revealed that it was merely a dental crown to which she was referring.
Not that it seems to make much difference financially. You could probably buy a fairly substantial piece of regal headgear for what the dentist was asking.

On the plus side, Queen Deb’s costume for the next instalment of the Licensing Epic doesn’t require such accoutriments…although a big pair of headphones and lots of hairspray may be in order. Yes, I’m still on my Star Wars themed odyssey through Oracle Database Licensing.

In the previous posts, I’ve already covered :

Now, it’s time to get to grips with the licensing minefield that are the Diagnostic and Tuning Packs.
Queue the orchestra….

Episode 2 – Attack of the Diagnostic and Tuning Packs

Confusion is rife in the Data Centre. The Geeki have found that the incredibly useful AWR and ASH utilities are in fact secret members of The Diagnostic Pack.
Fearing the presence of the Dark Side, they must now re-enter the realms of the mysterious Oracle Database License to

  • Determine which features are part of these packs
  • Work out exactly what constitutes usage of these packs
  • find out which database objects that are part of these packs

With this information, at least they will know which objects they must avoid if they are not to have to pay substanital additonal licenses…

Disclaimer

This code has been written and tested on Oracle Database 11gR2 Express Edition.
The licensing information I’ve referenced is for Oracle Database 11gR2.
I’m fairly sure it all works as expected. However, as you undoubtedly know, you shouldn’t take my word for it.
Before you go playing around with this on any production environment, please make sure it does what I think it does.
Of course, if you do find any issues, I’d be great if you could put a comment on here so that I can correct any issues…and also to give a pointer to anyone else looking at this post.
Yes, I know the standard disclaimer about “similarity to events or persons living or dead” always goes at the end of the film, but I thought it best to put it at the start.
Incidentally, have you ever wondered exactly what real-life events Star Wars could have a similarity to ?

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Oracle Database Licensing for SMEs – Making a Contribution to Larry’s Yacht Fund

In the battle of the sexes, there is only one winner. I call her Deb.
This should go some way to explaining the difference in approach between the two DBAs in the following story.

For many years now, licensing of Oracle Database software has been an arcane and confusing business. Whilst this is often an area that falls to the humble DBA to admninister, most DBAs aren’t lawyers. Sometimes, keeping on top of the licensing requirements takes a back-seat to the day-to-day technical challenges.

What follows is a cautionary tale on the potential ramifications of finding out that you are under-licensed…around the same time that Oracle also discover this unfortunate fact.
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Defaulting Null values in SQL*Loader

Having spent the last couple of months working with a South African ( hello Trevor) and being reminded, oh so gently, of that nation’s recent cricketing success, I was hoping to get the opportunity to return the favour via the medium of Rugby Union.

The Springboks narrow defeat of England in the Autumn International did little to derail this cunning plan. Unfortunately, my emergency backup nationality failed at a crucial moment as the hitherto invincible All Blacks were roundly thrashed by England a week later.
People in glass-houses…

Anyway, what follows is a solution to a fairly specific problem we were confronted with recently.
Continue reading